What’s Best Teeth Practice?

University College London recently engaged in research to uncover the best practices for brushing teeth.  However, their findings, which were published in the British Dental Journal and were recently summarized in an article by Science Daily, were troubling.  In their research, they looked at brushing advice from toothpaste and toothbrush companies, dental textbooks and information provided by dental associations in ten countries.  The team of researchers found a wide range of recommendations on methods on brushing, particularly in how often and how long to engage in the activity.

In essence, there was no consensus between any authorities in the dental industry on how brushing should be completed. That the lack of consistency was “worrying,” according to Aubrey Sheiham, first author on the study and Emeritus Professor of Dental Public Health at UCL’s Epidemiology and Public Health department.  with such conflicting reports on how often to do so, Sheiham claims that many consumers are confused on how to best brush their teeth. She suggests that individuals brush gently, with a horizontal scrubbing motion while employing a pencil grip on the brush to prevent being overly rough.

three toothbrushes

There are conflicting reports on the best practices when brushing teeth. 

However, even with Sheiham’s suggestions, she acknowledges that some of the most complex and thorough brushing procedures offered by dental textbooks are often completely disregarded by practicing dentists.  Often, a much more simplistic method is offered—much like the suggestion she made.  But this disagreement hints at a significantly deeper problem, in Sheiham’s opinion.  She believes the only way to definitively decide on the best brushing practices would be to engage in research and experimentation.  The conflicting suggestions indicate that there is a severe disconnect between research and advice.  The easiest solution is to engage in experiments to provide some strong evidence to suggest one method over another.